Zoeller calls for congressional inquiry into herbal supplements

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and his New York counterpart A.G. Schneiderman are leading a bipartisan group of 14 attorneys general who want Congress to look into the herbal supplements industry.

The group sent a letter to Congress to consider more oversight by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding herbal supplements, citing a New York state investigation that raised serious concerns about the marketing and safety of these products.

“My focus is on ensuring the best consumer protections for dietary and herbal supplements, and eliminating potential false or deceptive labeling that could be harmful to consumers,” said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “My fellow attorneys general and I are urging Congress to consider stronger federal oversight of the herbal supplements industry so that members of the public have full information about a product they are ingesting.”

The letter to congressional leaders is co-signed by attorneys general from Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Tests conducted by the New York AG’s office of popular herbal supplements showed products that were contaminated with allergens, off-label plant species and other potentially dangerous substances. Other research has suggested herbal supplements contain high levels of heavy metals like mercury and lead.

The attorneys general want congressional subcommittees to work with the FDA to address several issues, including examining quality assurance measures, marketing and label information and whether the FDA should develop enhanced, uniform, industry-wide quality assurance and verification regimes.

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